Stage A
READ 180 Sub. Plans: What to do When You're Not There

The READ 180 program comes equipped with instructional models, routines, and best practices for every situation. It also comes with pre-made lesson plans that possess a level of detail that few of us would have time to duplicate on our own.  

This is great for us and our students but makes leaving substitute plans a bit nerve racking. After all, the READ 180 classroom can be a daunting place for even the most veteran teacher to get thrown into.  

So what should we do when we have a sub?

I don't know that I have any magical answers, but here are some thoughts...

Don't Feel The Need To Make Substitute Continue With The rBook

  • No knock on subs (believe me, I get pulled to cover enough to understand how hard their job is), but the chances of them being able to walk in and deliver a READ 180 lesson properly are very slim.  There is simply too much to the instructional routines for them to try and absorb in a few minutes before the kids walk in.   

Use The Stuff You Normally Wouldn't Get To

  • Your RDI books (Resources For Differentiated Instruction, 1, 2 and 3) can be you best friends here.  The lessons are very straight forward.  The activities are fairly simple.  And there are many lessons to choose from that most READ 180 teachers can't cover in an in-depth way during the normal flow of the class.  They are literally perfect for days when you won't be there!

Manage Small Group Rotation Expectations

  • As any READ 180 teacher knows, teaching a lesson while managing rotational stations takes a lot of practice and knowledge about established expectations and routines.  So, the chances of having substitutes experience a behavioral nightmare are higher than average.  Try to find activities that are somewhat self-contained.  The small group pieces of the RDI lessons are often perfect for this, but reviews of vocabulary (like "target word" crossword puzzles) also work very well.  There are a hundred other options to add to the list, but long story short: anything where the sub can focus on keeping the peace and helping out rather than pure instruction is good.  


  • Keep it simple!  Remember that READ 180 is about mastering skills not covering content! 
Stage A READ 180 Educator